07 Jun 2020

Truing stand beta

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I’ve been developing my truing stand for quite a while now. The software has been stable for more than a year but recent changes make it the tool I really wanted. After a few hardware revisions, that part is working well too. For a peek at both check out the video below.

I’m turning my mind to how a system like this should be packaged. Below the video is a survey to get a handle on the demand for a digital truing system. If you can, please contribute! All questions are optional and the survey can be submitted anonymously if you prefer. 

(For communication purposes the “wheels” in the screencast part of the video are simulations. I have a simulation driver for testing the user interface, which lets me try wheels far worse than I encounter in the workshop. No wheels were harmed in the design of this system.)

Survey

You would be most likely to add digital truing to your workshop as


If you imagine upgrading an existing truing stand with digital controls, what cost/configuration would be justified by the expected benefits? Check all that apply if any. Figures in USD.







Would the package be enhanced by including a display at an additional cost?

What platform would you be likely to use as a display? Check all that apply.





Do you have a truing stand equipped with test indicators already?


How often do you build or repair wheels?




Use this space for additional feedback on survey questions or on the system itself.

This box is for sharing your contact information. (optional)


29 Feb 2020

Listen to your rims

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I never know what rims will walk through my door, the freshness of the tooling on the day they were made, the chain of custody from the factory, etc. So I have a prebuild ritual that involves quite a lot of inspection. I don’t want to call it a checklist — I’m just creating opportunities to notice what’s in hand. If attention is given to each facet, anything awry stands out.

On alloy rims I like to visit every spoke hole with a chamfer tool or a handheld drill bit. This puts a subtle profile in the hole where the head of the nipple rests. Sometimes there can be a coil of drilling chaff attached to a spoke hole — a chamfering pass breaks them off and smooths any burrs. When I visit the joint I look at the internal sleeve, if any. Does it interfere with nipple fit? And so on.

Measuring is inspecting

Measuring your own ERD can indicate a lot. Use the measuring step to test fit washers if using them. Do the washers sit nicely in the rim? Measuring will tell you if your rim is round or oval. All else being equal the rounder the rim, the better the expected result in terms of alignment and tension balance. If your rim is oval, take a deep breath and expect to spend a little longer at the bench if chasing numbers is your thing. Have you ever found a job difficult and doubted your skills? It could be the rim.

24 Dec 2019

See you next year

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SpokeService is now closed for 2019. I’ll be taking the remainder of the year to clean the workshop, overhaul tools, count inventory and close the books. The online shop will remain open but orders won’t ship until operations resume in January. The site will have a little downtime for server upgrades, which means my free software utilities may be unavailable for short periods.

Happy holidays and tailwinds in 2020.

20 Dec 2019

Morizumi mounting

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Ric from Wheel Fanatyk visited recently and wrote about it on his blog. He was interested in my Morizumi setup and maybe others will be too. I’ll leave a few notes and build photos here.

I started with a King stand for big drills or small mills. A few considerations led to this choice: not too heavy to move alone but heavy enough to resist tilting under use; not too expensive; and available locally. The same stand is sold under different names in different markets so searching by keyword may be helpful if you’re looking.

The default option would be to mount a spoke machine directly to the stand but that would be low for me especially with my thick anti-fatigue mat in front of the tool. I took a sheet of leftover pine, chopped it on the table saw and laminated pieces together to create a top with my desired lift. I took advantage of the laminated construction to insert T-nuts between layers — I matched them to existing holes in the stand letting me attach the top with bolts from inside. No exterior hardware makes the top an uninterrupted flat surface, which is helpful in terms of oil containment.

By mounting my spoke machine to the wooden top I only needed to drill one hole in the metal stand — for the spoke offcut chute. If you’re a casual cutter this step might be unnecessary but it’s important for a production shop. I bolted my spoke machine in place and traced exactly where the chute would go. I cut the chute in the wooden top, mounted it, and used the top itself as a drilling guide. The result: spoke scraps fall through the chute landing in a bucket accessed through the main door.

Though oil is mandatory I didn’t want to fix a drip tray under the machine. To protect the wood I wrapped it with Formica countertop laminate. The process involves gluing pieces with contact cement and trimming the edges with a router. Formica is oil tolerant and lets me wipe away drips without hurting anything. In order to prevent oil from seeping beneath the spoke machine and draining through its bolt holes, I put a bead of sealant around the spoke machine on its final installation.

13 Oct 2019

Building as always

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Wheelbuilds continue to trickle through the shop. Here’s a few snaps of recent builds: